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Geodynamics and Basin Studies

Numerical Modelling in 3D of Rift Segmentation, Rift Propagation, and Oblique Rifting: Control of Strain Weakening and Brittle Ductile Coupling

Funding: NFR; 1 post doc and 1 phd student

Duration 3 years, End date 01.08.2011

This project focuses on understanding the evolution and structural style of sedimentary basins and passive margins in 3 dimensions (3D) using state of the art computational modelling techniques. To date very few 3D models exist that follow the evolution of rifting to large deformation with sufficient resolution to resolve individual fault and shear zones. We use state of the art finite element techniques that solve for viscous-plastic flows in 3 dimensions to model 3D features of continental rifting and passive margin formation that are so far not very well understood. The project aims to understand three aspects of lithosphere extension and passive margins formation that are intimately related and which are inherently 3D in nature: 1) along axis segmentation and variation in structural style of rift basins and passive margins; 2) along axis rift propagation from well developed rift zones into un-extended continental lithosphere; and 3) occurrence of orthogonal extension versus transtensional extensional deformation.

 Researchers working on this project:

Prof. Ritske S. Huismans

Dr Cedric Thieulot

Vaneeda Allken

Prof. Haakon Fossen

External collaborators: Prof. Jean Braun (Grenoble University), Christopher Beaumont (Dalhousie University)